Specialized S-Works XC MTB shoe review

The Goldilocks of XC shoes?

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £250.00 RRP

Our review

Just about everything you need in an XC race shoe, but at this price we’d love to see replaceable lugs on the sole
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Specialized is another company with a reputation for high performance footwear and the S-Works represents its latest and greatest. Fit is subjective, but we found during our long-term review the S-Works suited our feet well; they weren’t too narrow or too wide, provided good arch support and enveloped our whole foot without any hot spots.


S-Works vs. Sidi Drako

The BOA retention system also performed well offering small precise adjustment, while still giving a secure and locked in feel.

The sole was stiff enough for even the most powerful riders and featured a wide generous tread making them easy to walk in, but more importantly, safe if you miss a pedal.

A word of caution to cyclocross riders though; in extremely wet conditions the smooth lugs don’t offer much grip, as one colleague’s painful hip will attest to after slipping over in a race. They’re also not replaceable so can’t compete with the longevity of a shoe like the Sidi.

We really liked the S-Works’ BOA retention system
Oliver Woodman / Immediate Media

However, we used the S-Works in some truly miserable conditions and were impressed by the toughness and durability of the outer. They also come with a matt finish which always seems to hold up well to rock strikes and inevitable crashes.


Overall the Specialized S-Works offered a great fit, with feathery weight and relative durability, although they’re not without their faults. Make the tread replaceable with better grip and we suspect they’d get close to a perfect score.

Product Specifications


Name S-Works XC Shoe
Brand Specialized

Shoe Type Cross-Country